Designing Your Perfect Family Kitchen

The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and temperatures have definitely dropped. .You’ve probably got your own ideas of how your kitchen will look and perhaps have even looked at other handmade kitchens for some inspiration.

If you’re already planning a kitchen, then you might well have spent a lot of time pondering the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and even appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly. Perhaps you are thinking about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen – particularly during the winter months – is often not given nearly enough thought. 

You will want to consider how you heat your kitchen, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating. You have to remember that your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from the beginning.


The key to a heating system that works efficiently is a good boiler. When planning your kitchen design, iperhaps think about a new boiler rather than repairing if yours is more than 15 years old as they’re not nearly as energy efficient. Updating an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler could reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency. Also, replacing a boiler could free up more room for more cupboards or worktops and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler – why wouldn’t you update it?


  • Radiators

For many years, central heating systems running a series of radiators have been the heating of choice. Usually already in place, it may be worth updating them from the dated 1970s flat panel models to radiators on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus – they can completely change the look of a room. For contemporary schemes look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in it’s look. 

If you’re eco-minded then aluminium models may be a good option as they heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators. This will save both time and energy.

You should definitely ensure you have just the right amount of radiators to heat the room. There are plenty of online calculators to help you do this – just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.  

  • Underfloor heating

A great option if your kitchen is being designed from the floor up; underfloor heating gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.

It depends on what type of heating you opt for but underfloor heating can be used under most types of flooring, including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest though! However a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles is usually a perfect fit with underfloor heating. 

You can choose from two options, electric and wet systems. Electric flooring is easier to fit, being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor but it is important to check with your builder first. Wet systems require much more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds. 

One of the biggest benefits of underfloor heating is that you don’t have to give over valuable wall space to other heating products such as radiators which means more room for cabinets and storage. Make sure your kitchen design is finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in but also where to place the controls on the walls. Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning. 

  • Cast-iron ranges

While an ‘always-on’ Aga is often the traditional choice in farmhouse designs, it will also provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning but it isn’t a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators. 

  • Go mobile

Finally, consider investing in an app-controlled heating system such as Hive or Nest so you can switch on your heating, using your phone, wherever and whenever you feel the need with great ease. Putting your mind at rest whilst knowing you will be toasty warm when you arrive home.


Should the jewellery market adapt to the rise in same-sex marriages?

With the rise of same-sex marriages in the UK, civil partnerships have fallen 85% since 2013. Same-sex marriages were legalised in 2014. In the first month of legalisation in the UK, 1,049 same-sex couples wed.

Is this changing the way that people shop for jewellery ahead of their wedding? We take a closer look with Angelic Diamonds, retailers of halo engagement rings.

Legalisation of same-sex marriage around the world

In the UK, the first same-sex marriage occurred on the 29th March 2014. From this point, 15,098 couples legally married under the new legislation up to 30th June 2015 — 55% of these were between women and 45% between men. In the first month alone of legalisation, 1,409 same-sex couples celebrated their love for each other with a wedding.

Same-sex couples can enjoy marriage in America now too. Researchers have already seen an effect of this — it was found that couples spend more on their weddings than they would on a civil partnership. Men were found to spend $15,580 more on average and women $9,116. Many wedding retailers are accommodating to the rise in same-sex marriages as well, by offering bespoke supplies such as his and his (and hers and hers) wedding toppers and signage. It is estimated that the same-sex wedding industry is worth $51 billion (£38.8 billion).

In some countries, legalisation has only occurred recently or not at all. In Germany, this was very recently — in October 2017. Amongst others, Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy still haven’t legalised same-sex marriage.

Changing the traditions

There are traditions that have been followed by heterosexual couples for hundreds of years. The man asks for approval from the woman’s parents, he purchases an engagement ring and proposes. At the wedding, the male has his groomsmen and women have their bridesmaids.

Recent research shows that 81% of gay men didn’t purchase engagement rings before popping the question. Instead, they purchased substitute gifts, such as expensive watches, and then purchased rings for the wedding ceremony.

Different to stag and hen dos, which many heterosexual couples take part in, studies show that gay couples also chose to enjoy a couple’s getaway or a group vacation with all of their friends.

When it comes to the people of the wedding party, same-sex couples did things differently again – many said that they had mixed sex bridesmaids and groomsmen. During the ceremony, the traditional vows cannot be written as they specify becoming ‘husband and wife’. Instead, the partners often write their own personal vows and the registrar marry the couple with the phrase ‘partners for life’.

Some traditions remain intact. For example, more than half of all women surveyed said that they did not see each other on the morning of their ceremony — keeping the surprise for seeing each other at the altar. When walking down the aisle was discussed, some couples reported that they walked down together and others said that they got a parent to walk with them.

Has the jewellery market changed?

To accommodate for different needs and wishes, the jewellery industry must change with the times. One thing that was picked up by research was that many gay couples chose to do their shopping online, as they found shopping in store for rings to be an awkward encounter. However, many businesses have embraced the changes by presenting gay couples in their advertising campaigns and welcoming couples to their store.

It appears that some same-sex couples skip the engagement rings and focus more on wedding bands. Only 66% of females and 19% of males purchased engagement rings.

Some same-sex couples are being more creative with their choice of wedding band. There are jewellers which offer metal that has multi-coloured features to it — representative of the flag that the LGBTQ community associate themselves with. One jeweller reported that often same-sex couples don’t request matching jewellery but instead want rings that have matching components, such as the same coloured metal or a similar stone.



Every Moment Counts Challenge – The Winner

Families Online recently ran a fantastic Every Moment Counts Challenge and the challenge was to follow the themes each day and snap a photo you felt really captured the theme.

I was kindly asked to judge the winner of the challenge this time around and whilst there were some fantastic entries, my trusty helper Jack and I finally came to agreement on who we believed should be the overall winner.

The person we felt captured the essence of each day’s theme best was Eilidh from Mummy and Monkeys – you can see her fabulous photos here. There were so many fantastic entries but there could only be one winner, much as Jack was very keen to choose everyone! We just really felt that Eilidh’s pictures and words fitted the themes well and her photos are absolutely stunning!

Well done Eilidh and well done to everyone else involved – you were fantastic and if we could have chosen you all, we would have done!

Create a Comfortable & Cosy Home Office This Autumn

With the last dregs of summer fading away behind us and all hopes of an Indian summer have been dashed, the cooler Autumn mornings approach with certainty. The chillier starts and earlier nights signify the return of the colder months and as the weather turns, all our thoughts to start turning to buying winter clothes and making our homes cosier! If you work from home, your office will be the place you spend most of your day (and maybe night, too!). With this in mind, it’s important that this space is inviting and warm in order to get you through the autumn and winter days – there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a cold, bare space to diminish your imagination!

The materials in the space will be the biggest driving factor to changing the feel of the place and warming it up. Texture really creates layers and makes the space inviting, in turn. Introduce different fabrics such as a faux sheepskin, fleece, velvet or wool that will create interesting focal points in the room and craft that perfect cosy feeling. Painting your walls and adding a textured wallpaper can also have the same effect. Plump for soft colours such as creams, reds and purples to keep that cosy feel.

As the biggest part of the room, the furniture will have the largest impact on the feel of the space. Colours such as white will have a fresh look and can make the space feel colder if not utilised properly. Wood furniture will create the cosiest feel as it has a warmth to it, but stick to materials such as oak, pine and beech that will give that traditional look we’re used to for that homely feel to your office. Opt for an oak computer desk to really draw the attention of the room, and select a complementary book case and shelves to bring it all together. This style of furniture, together with your textures, will warm up the space and make the room feel complete.

One of the most important aspects of any room is lighting, as this will create the atmosphere and set the tone of the space. Invest in some good quality lamps that will stand the test of time and that will also look timeless in the space. Larger, traditional style lamps will create the cosiest look but it won’t matter too much if you prefer more modern styles as these can work equally as well. Choose a yellow/warm-tinged bulb on a low wattage that will create a pleasant glow to the room. You can also go for other lighting options such as string lights if these are your style. These will create a homely feel to any room, but careful they don’t make you feel too restful or you won’t get any work done!

Accessories will add the finishing touches to the space with only a few pieces needed. These can also be used to transform the space if you’re unable to change any furniture or alter the wall colours. If you have space, introducing plants will give it a natural feel, and also adds another texture in the mix. Add candles for the ultimate homely feel that will add a warmth to the room, especially your favourite fragranced candles – incense or oil burners will also have the same effect! Material accessories such as cushions, rugs and throws are the perfect last minute items and make the space comfortable and warm to work in.

Hopefully these cosy office ideas should get your creative juices flowing this autumn!

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New Releases & Free & Bargain Books Link Up

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
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(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
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Celticlady’s Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
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Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance |
Colorimetry | Futures
3 Partners in Shopping | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings


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(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

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